This is the time of year when many yards and empty fields are bright with a variety of flowers. Where I live in the southern United States, I’m easily able to spot the lavender-colored henbit, the deeper-purple grape hyacinth, and of course the bright yellow dandelion.
I know my attitude isn’t shared by everyone, but I love seeing these flowers, especially in my own yard. I respect the right for folks to make their own decisions, but I fall into the camp that doesn’t care for the idea of the monoculture that we call a lawn, and the chemicals required for that to happen. ‘Nuf said about that.
I haven’t always been a wildflower-in-my-yard person. Growing up, my family had a few of those “weed pullers” that we used to try to pull up dandelions. It was a tool about 12” long with a forked blade on the end. The idea was to dig deep for the root, but I’m not sure it really worked all that well. Regardless, weeds didn’t belong in your yard.
My attitude changed, oddly enough, when I spent some time with the Army in Germany, thousands of miles away from the nearest American lawn. My wife and I had a friend from work whose name was Libby. Honestly, all I remember about her is she rode a Harley when she was stateside, she had red hair, her name inspired us as we sought to find a moniker for our cat, and she questioned the word “weed.”
“Why do you call it a weed?” she asked with a degree of sincerity that was a bit discomforting.
I remember not really having an answer. I didn’t have the beliefs and attitudes I have now about the natural world, so that was something new for me to think about.
If you ask me now, I’ll tell you that a weed is simply a flower growing where it’s unwanted. I really do think it’s as simple as that.
Thanks, Libby. I don’t have a clue where you’re at now, but I don’t doubt that, like me, you’ve got flowers in your life. Maybe not the kind everyone wants, but we’ve got flowers.